《TAIPEI TIMES 焦點》 MND overhaul to boost morale
FRONT ROW SEAT: The defense minister has invited non-commissioned officers to sit alongside generals and give base reports as part of efforts to improve their status
By Lo Tien-pin and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter
Minister of National Defense Feng Shih-kuan （馮世寬） has announced a measure to allow non-commissioned officers to report to the minister in person, along with plans to improve the salaries and welfare of non-commissioned officers, as well as offer them higher recognition.
When visiting military bases, the minister is to hear reports from the base commander, as well as the chief petty officer, a move expected to improve the morale of non-commissioned officers.
過濾器There are about 73,000 non-commissioned officers in the nation’s armed forces consisting of 215,000 personnel, according to濾水器 水世界 the Ministry of National Defense’s （MND） annual budget plan.
Though accounting for a majority of the military population, non-commissioned officers are a less privileged group in the armed forces, but steps are being taken to improve their status and benefits.
Feng, in a visit to an air force base in Chiayi County last month, held talks with low-level officers to understand their needs, sources in the military said.
In footage published by the ministry, Feng made an announcement during the visit, saying it was his priority to improve the welfare and organizational structure of non-commissioned officers and would elevate their status in the military.
While an improvement plan has yet to be finalized, Feng, in an attempt to place non-commissioned officers and higher-ranking officers on equal footing, has ordered the armed forces to send a chief petty officer to accompany the base commander when receiving ministry officials, and both the commander and chief petty officer are to make reports, the source said.
Conventionally, seats are arranged according to the ranks of officers when meeting with ministry visiting officials, with generals always occupying the front row seats.
However, Feng’s traditio國師n-breaking announcement allows chief petty officers to occupy front row seats, providing a strong motivation for 73,000 non-commissioned officers pursuing a military career, the source said.
A Military Police Command source said that Feng’s measure has been effective, as Feng was welcomed by Military Police Commander Lieutenant General Hsu Chang （許昌） and Chief Petty Officer Liu Pi-li （劉畢莉） during a visit to the command’s headquarters.
Liu was seated next to Hsu, a more prominent place than Military Police Deputy Commander Major General Chou Kuang-chi （周廣齊） and the command’s Political Warfare Office Director Major General Hsieh Ming-te （謝明德） were seated, suggesting an improved status for non-commissioned officers.
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